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What are you thankful for?

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Douglas Evans
  • 451st Expeditionary Operations Group First Sergeant
November brings thoughts of turkey, football, and family togetherness to our minds. While it may not be our own close relatives, we are here with our Air Force family. I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving here at Kandahar Airfield in the company of friends and acquaintances. While I miss my own family as well, I know we have much to be thankful for and I am very grateful to be here in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

There are a few things that come to my mind when considering things to be thankful for. For example, seeing the looks on the faces of the children at the bazaar when they receive candy and then having them ask if I have any toothbrushes.

I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to assist a victim of an improvised explosive device during a mission with the 451st Expeditionary Aeromedical Squadron. This was probably the highlight of my trip to Kandahar. Words cannot express how it feels to witness firsthand how the medical team went into action to get the patient ready for a flight. The team transitioned the fixed hospital instrumentation equipment to the portable aircraft equipment. I was able to cover the patient with a blanket and carry him into the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. He was transported to a Level III hospital to treat his life-threatening injuries.

A few more things I'm thankful for here at Kandahar include standing on the 73rd Air Control Squadron's tower to watch the sunset, listening to the rain fall on our mod's metal roof, and feeling raindrops on my head as I walk to our vehicle. I am blessed to be healthy and well fed by the dining facilities here. There are a lot of vitamins and more prescriptions (malaria medications, Flonase) than ever before. Each morning I am blessed to get out of bed as the sun rises, ready and grateful for another day. And it's such a blessing to go for a run through the streets of KAF as the sun rises during the brisk mornings.

I took a walk around the 451st Expeditionary Air Wing and asked some Airmen what they were thankful for and received various responses. Some said family, a relationship with God, a bottom bunk, chocolate chip cookies, friendships, hot showers, General Walsh, making a contribution, the loving support of our families, clean clothes, Skype, receiving mail, making a contribution, being part of the 451st AEW, and fellowship with friends. I think you would have to agree that the simple things are probably the best. People will provide different responses when asked what they are thankful for, and there will not be any right or wrong answers.

It is so wonderful to see our base come together to celebrate the holidays and enjoy each other's company. This year during the holiday season, I'd like to suggest sharing with each other through a charity donation or donating to the Afghan community. There are plenty of people who struggle to get enough food to adequately feed their families, let alone presents. What a wonderful gesture to help each other out.

I want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving and a Happy Holidays. Please take some time to reflect and evaluate all the reasons for being thankful this year. Keep safe here at Kandahar, be a good wingman and help someone.